OCR Interpretation

The Oglala light. [volume] ([Pine Ridge, S.D.]) 190?-19??, June 01, 1917, Image 11

Image and text provided by South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2017270500/1917-06-01/ed-1/seq-11/

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HE rumor that a unit of American Indians would be included in
first division of troops to be sent to Europe is only a rumor.
Secretary of "War Baker has announced himself opposed to it. He
does not believe that the various nationalities and races that constit
ute the American people should be separated in service, but should
all fight as Americans.
As a matter of fact, the number of Indians available for military
service is extremely small. There are only 320,000 American Indi
ans, located principally throughout the west and middle-west of
these only about 40 percent speak English. Even of this 40 percent
about half are women, while a great many more are either under or
over the military age limit or for various reasons incapacitated.
The War department, therefore, is not disposed to favor any plan
calling for a special mobilization of Indians of military age but will
register the same as other American male. Many students in govern
ment Indian schools have already gone into training in various milit
ary organizations.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also opposed to any policy which
treats the Indian as a race rather than an individual. Mr. Sells'
declared policy is to make citizens of all Indians who are ready for
the privileges and responsibilities which citizenship involves. In
determining which Indians are competent to exercise the rights of cit
izenship, the following facts will govern.
If an Indian is of more than one-half white blood, other than in ex
ceptional cases, he will be given full charge of his affairs, including
his money and property, and the government thereafter withdraws
its supervision of him. He may stay on the reservation or go out
into the world, at his pleasure. He is a free man. Now, to all In
dians of one-half or more Indian blood, the same privileges will be
granted when, after thorough investigation, they are determined to
be as competent to manage their own affairs as the average white
man, except that it will be the rule to with hold patents in fee to
forty acres of land belonging to each Indian, so that he may be in
sured a permanent home.
In addition to declaring competent and giving patents in fee to

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